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Friday, December 20, 2013

Combat Christmas Consumerism - 3 Ways To Remember The Reason For The Season

The holiday season is here, whether you're ready or not. Less than one month ago friends and family gathered around tables, shared delicious meals and gave thanks for all the good in our lives. Exactly 24 hours later gratitude gave way to "getititude" as scores of shoppers swarmed and scrambled to grab bargains on Black Friday. The season of comfort and joy has become more about flat screen televisions and hard to find toys.

Last year I blogged about my own child's sense of Christmas entitlement. 

This year our family has worked hard to counteract consumerism and instead teach virtues of true holiday spirit. While I want my little ones to enjoy the thrill of receiving gifts from their wish list; it's equally important for them to learn the magic of giving, creating traditions and being spiritually grounded. It's easy to get caught up in the commercial hoopla! Use these tips to add meaning to the most wonderful time of the year.

1. Celebrate The Joy Of Giving
We all look forward to the smiles that follow unwrapping beautiful boxes on Christmas morning (Hanukkah and Kwanzaa too)! We save, shop, sneak and stress to get our loved ones what they desire most. Hopefully as adults we've learned the joy of giving, as well as receiving. Plan activities that teach your little ones that sentiment. It's important for them to realize that other boys and girls may be going without. Find a local toy drive, group home, or church collecting items for the less fortunate. Donate toys, books and clothing that can be a blessing to those who desperately need a bit of holiday cheer. If finances are tight give your time. Join a group that sings carols at nursing homes or spend an afternoon volunteering at a local shelter. Be the gift!

2. Create Family Traditions Together
Fellowship, family, laughter and love - these are life's most special gifts. Make the season mean so much more by creating traditions with your children. Craft homemade ornaments or cards, bake cookies for your neighbors, attend a performance of the Nutcracker, see a holiday concert, go ice skating, host a Christmas Eve potluck, etc. Give your family something to look forward to each year that's invaluable, immaterial and doesn't require batteries.

3. Teach The Reason For The Season
Focus on your faith. Why and what do you believe? As busy adults we sometimes take for granted the spiritual lessons imparted by our elders. Teach your children the essence of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Make it fun! Take part of special activities in your place of worship. Pick out a couple of new books. Put on a play or puppet show to perform for loved ones visiting from out of state. Although Santa has become a prominent figure, remind your children the star atop your tree does not shine in celebration of dear old St. Nick.

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